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William Watson, M. D.


WILLIAM WATSON, M. D., is a worthy representative of the medical profession in Dubuque, occupying a prominent position among those of the fraternity in this locality. He was born in Yorkshire, England, on the 14th of May, 1826, and is a son of Joseph and Ann (Metcalf) Watson. In 1827 the parents emigrated with their family to the New World. The vessel in which they sailed dropped anchor in the harbor of New York, whence they made their way to Middletown, Conn. In 1830 they removed to Onondaga County, N.Y., where the Doctor was reared and educated, attending the common schools. In 1844 he want to Ohio, and spent the succeeding winter in Huron County. In May of 1845, we find him in Milwaukee, Wis., but after a brief sojourn in that place he went to Beloit, Wis., on the Rock River, where he remained for seven years.

During that time Mr. Watson took up the study of medicine with Drs. A. and E. L. Clark, after which he entered Rush Medical College of Chicago, and in the spring of 1852 began practice at McGregor, Iowa, where he remained until the fall of 1853. During the succeeding winter he again attended lectures in Rush Medical College, from which institution he was graduated in February, 1854. That year also witnessed his arrival in Dubuque, where he has now for forty years engaged in general practice as one of the skilled and successful physicians of this city.

In October, 1861, Dr. Watson was appointed Surgeon of the Eleventh Iowa Infantry, commanded by Col. A. M. Hare, of Muscatine. He then went to the front, and with the regiment was attached to the Third Division of the Army of the Tennessee commanded by General McArthur. He saw service at Jefferson City, at Shiloh and at Corinth and was then appointed Assistant Surgeon of the United States Volunteer Corps, being assigned to duty at Memphis, Tenn., where he remained busily employed throughout the Vicksburg campaign. In September, 1863, he was promoted to the rank of Surgeon and placed in charge of the Jackson Hospital, where he remained until February, 1864, when he was ordered to report for duty at Louisville, Ky., and was sent to Rock Island, Ill., as Surgeon at the post at that place. On his arrival there he found fifteen hundred sick Confederate prisoners, and among them were four hundred and twenty cases of smallpox, but Dr. Watson was equal to the emergency and soon had affairs in good condition. He remained in charge at that post until the close of the war, when, his services being no longer needed, he was mustered out, on the 24th of October, 1865, having served for four years and four days. Although he did not carry a musket his work was none the less arduous or important, and he well deserves mention among the brave boys in blue who defended their country in her hour of peril.

Dr. Watson at once returned to his home and family in Dubuque. November 26, 1860, he had married Miss Lucy Giddings, of Portland, Me., who died March 13, 1862, leaving one son, Fred J., who is now a teacher in a high school of Chicago. The Doctor was again married September 14, 1868, his second union being with Miss Lucy C. Conkey, of Dubuque.

Immediately after his return from the war, Dr. Watson resumed practice in Dubuque. The following winter he spent in Bellevue Hospital, of New York City, but since that time has devoted his energies to his profession in this place. He is well known and well established in business, having] a large and lucrative practice. He is a member of the State Medical Society, which was organized in 1850, and served as its President in 1868, the first year in which it met in DesMoines. He has also been a member of the American Medical Association since 1857, and belongs to Lookout Post, G. A. R. He is a popular gentleman and a valued citizen, and in the community where he makes his home is held in high esteem by both young and old, rich and poor. In politics he is a stanch supporter of the principles of the Republican party.
~source: Portrait and Biographical Record of Dubuque, Jones and Clayton Counties, Iowa. Chicago: Chapman Publishing Co. 1894. Pages 124-125.

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